News / Middle East

Military Commander, 18 Troops Killed in Iraq

Commander of the army's Seventh Division, Maj. Gen Mohammed Ahmed al-Kurwi, left, attends Ministry of Defence conference, Baghdad Dec. 14, 2013.
Commander of the army's Seventh Division, Maj. Gen Mohammed Ahmed al-Kurwi, left, attends Ministry of Defence conference, Baghdad Dec. 14, 2013.
Reuters
Militants killed at least 18 Iraqi officers and soldiers in Sunni-dominated Anbar province on Saturday, including a commander who oversaw a crackdown on Sunni protesters earlier this year, military sources said.
 
Islamist militants' posts on online forums called the slain commander, Mohammed Ahmed al-Kurwi, a "criminal" and celebrated the attack, which security sources described as carefully planned and executed.
 
Al Qaeda-linked Sunni militants have intensified attacks on Iraq's security forces, civilians and anyone seen as supporting the Shi'ite-led government in recent months in the country's deadliest violence in five years.
 
The circumstances of Saturday's attack were in dispute. The Defence Ministry said Kurwi, commander of the army's Seventh Division, and several other high-ranking officers were killed by a roadside bomb while pursuing militants from an al Qaeda training camp in Anbar's desert.
 
But other military sources said the officers were killed when three suicide bombers wearing explosive belts detonated themselves among them in the western town of Rutba, 360 km (225 miles) west of Baghdad.
 
"All that we know so far is three suicide bombers wearing explosive vests came from nowhere and detonated themselves among the officers," a military officer who was at the scene told Reuters by phone.
 
Some security officials suggested informants may have lured the commanders to the area under the pretext of raiding the al Qaeda camp.
 
No specific group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but suicide bombing is the trademark of al Qaeda's Iraqi affiliate, which merged this year with counterparts in Syria to form the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
 
The assistant commander of the Seventh Division, the commander of its 27th Brigade, and several other high-ranking officers were also among those killed in the attack, sources said.
 
Another 32 soldiers were wounded.
 
Hawija's ghost
 
Militant Islamists online portrayed Kurwi's death as retribution for the killings of more than 40 people in a raid by security forces on a Sunni protest camp in the northern town of Hawija in April.
 
"The criminal who was killed today at the hands of al-Baghdadi's men was the leader of the Hawija massacre," said one user on Twitter, referring to ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
 
The April raid — which Kurwi oversaw — came after months of protests by Sunnis against what they see as marginalization of their sect by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government.
 
ISIL insurgents have since stepped up attacks on strategic targets in parts of western Iraq in a bid to establish a state ruled by strict Sunni Islamic practice.
 
In a separate incident, the commander-in-chief of the police force in Shirqat, 300 km north of Baghdad, was killed and four of his officers were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded by his convoy, police and medical sources said.
 
Another two soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb went off as their military patrol was passing through Riyadh, a small town near Hawija, police said.
 
In Latifiya, a town 40 km south of Baghdad, two Shi'ite pilgrims were killed by rocket fire, police said. Another two Shi'ites were killed when militants raided a supermarket in the capital's southeast.
 
Iraqi security services are expecting more attacks ahead of the Shi'ite holy day of Arbaeen next week.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid